"Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” – Luke 12:15 (The NIV Bible)
Anyone who says money does not matter is either delusional or a trust-fund baby. Research tightly links money with wellbeing. And poverty is commonly known to be a potent and toxic stressor. More money doesn't necessarily buy more happiness, but less money is associated with emotional pain and unhealthy tendencies. For millions living in the grips of financial strain, however, the issue is less about living below poverty lines and far more to do with habits and practices that are not sustainable economically, socially, environmentally or spiritually.
Modern stress, like many health experts stipulate, is in some ways, a cautionary tale of personal sustainability. Because for far too many of us, spending and accumulating have become stand-ins for happiness - automatic, thoughtless and, when we fall into debt, the fast track to misery. Media, marketing, advertising and other cultural messages that constantly bombard us don't even help. They serve as a gaggle of bad influencers egging us on to turn to purchases for happiness.
Our predicament becomes even more tightly knotted when outer markers of wealth and influence - and the unsustainable consumption that comes with it - become the metrics by which we measure success, accomplishment and self-esteem, leading us to neglect our most vital protective factors during times of adversity: family, friends, community, purpose and service. And this is where the house, car, schools, fancy weddings and enviable vacations strangle people with debt.
Ultimately, though, sustainability requires a personal calculation that takes into account many factors, including hard numbers and deeply introspective decisions. The question is: what's your history when it comes to money? What are your core beliefs? Your attachments? Your patterns? Journalling them can help unearth unhealthy triggers as many purchases are wants, NOT needs. Before you make further purchases, pause to consider whether the purchase will contribute to more stress and dysfunction later. Selah!
Money can become a stress point for many. It's very easy to get into a "scarcity mentality", and that can create a feeling that you don't have a lot of money even when you do. I think of it in terms of flow and abundance. There's a certain level of ease when you experience a flow of giving and receiving.
As I continue to learn, grow and mature, I strongly advocate that people NOT ONLY unearth subconscious and deeply entrenched family beliefs and patterns about money that could lead to their downfall but to be more expansive in their definitions of abundance by aiming to spend more time in the present appreciating the abundance of good things already in their lives. It's a form of gratitude and mindfulness. To be continued.
With the Usual Esteem & Appreciation,
Christian Aligba is the Founder/President of C.A.L.F Africa, a non-profit organization that's keenly developing and recognizing the next generation of African leaders - helping to create a new narrative, a new normal, a new beginning. Better Leaders, Better Societies across Africa. Learn more@ www.calfafrica.org
"Work on being and NOT on having anything. For with what you are, you will surely have" - Rev. Chris Oyakhilome, D.Sc, DD.
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